The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages settled back to 7.82 percent this week.

The average was down from 7.88 percent last week, mortage company Freddie Mac said Thursday.

Two Federal Reserve interest-rate increases this summer added to pressures pushing market-sensitive mortgage rates on a general upward trend. This year, the average rate for 30-year mortgages peaked at 8.15 percent in mid-August, the highest level since April 1997, before dropping back some since then.

"Continuing news that inflation has been kept in check so far this year translated into relatively stable mortgage interest rates," said Freddie Mac economist Robert Van Order.

This year's low rate for 30-year mortgages was 6.74 percent, set at the end of January.

The rate for 15-year mortgages, a popular option for refinancing, averaged 7.43 percent last week, down from 7.49 percent the week before.

On one-year adjustable-rate mortgages, lenders were asking an average initial rate of 6.22 percent, up from 6.21 percent the week before.

IN THE NEWS . . . Peg Contrucci, formerly an agent with Gardner Homes, Realtor, of McLean has formed her own real estate brokerage company, Contrucci Realty LC, in Gainesville.

PERSONNEL . . . Paul B. Kern III was named vice president of Cassidy & Pinkard in the Washington real estate services firm's Rockville office . . . The Jones Lang LaSalle real estate services firm expanded its Washington office, naming Dean A. Lopez development director for the mid-Atlantic region and appointing Kevin R. Wayer manager of land services.

AWARDS . . . Eakin/Youngentob Associates of Arlington received the Aurora Design award for their design of Old Town Village town houses in Alexandria. The award was presented at the Southeast Building Conference in Orlando . . . The metropolitan Washington and Virginia chapters of Associated Builders and Contractors named Tishman Technologies Corp. winner of the Excellence in Construction award in the electrical category for its work on Level 3 Communications Inc. in McLean.

UPCOMING EVENTS . . . The Community Associations Institute's Maryland Legislative Action Committee will hold a preview of its legislative agenda for the 2000 General Assembly from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sept. 28 in Annapolis. The event will be held at Historic Oakland, 5430 Vantage Point Rd., Columbia. The event is open to all, but a $10 voluntary donation is requested, along with an RSVP to 703-750-3644 . . . Weichert Real Estate School will hold a series of Principles and Practices courses, the basic 60-hour real estate course required from those seeking a real estate license in Maryland, Virginia and the District. Day and evening classes will be held in Northwest Washington, Annapolis, Olney, Greenbelt, Tysons Corner, Mount Vernon and Fairfax. Tuition is $179 and includes registration and textbooks. For more information, call 301-718-4143 . . . The Northern Virginia Building Industry Association will hold its Second Annual Parade of Homes, a tour of 30 custom-built houses priced from $200,000 to more than $2 million, in Loudoun, Fairfax, Prince William and Spotsylvania counties. The tours will be held on Sept. 25 and 26, and Oct. 2 and 3. Cost is $5. A guide for the tours will be published in Friday's editions of The Washington Post that are distributed in Virginia. For more information, call 703-551-4581.

Send realty announcements to Brian Krebs, Real Estate Notes, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.